HOMEF seeks stringent Bio-safety laws to protect Nigerians from consumption of GMO
Worried that Bio-safety measures currently in place in the country is not strict enough to ensure health safety in consumption of Genetically-Mondified Organisms (GMOs), Health of the Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has canvassed stringent laws that would enable the National Bio-safety Management Agency be more effective.
It stressed that the Nigerian Bio-safety Act must be strengthened to hold GMO producers accountable of any wrong doing, adding that a fine of N50,000 is not enough to hold the producers accountable.
Speaking during a stakeholder conference on Bio-safety and biodiversity,
HOMEF Director, Ninmo Bassey, who spoke during a stakeholders’ conference on Bio-safety and Bio-diversity, stressed that the government needs know that the Bio-safety measures currently in place in the country are not strict enough to secure the Nigerian space, adding that there is need for a Bio-safety law that would ensure that the agency managing Bio-safety in the country is assisted by law to be more effective.
Bassey noted that the country got it wrong by establishing the Bio-safety promoting agency before the regulatory agency, saying that it should have been the other way round, as it is of utmost importance to ensure the country is not exposed to dangerous genetically-engineered food.
While calling for the review of the National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) Act, he urged the withdrawal of GMO promoters from the governing board of the regulatory agency, emphasising that farmers and consumers should have a place in the governing board.
He further stressed that the liability process should be weighty enough as a fine of N50,000 is not enough to dissuade people.
Condemning arguments by scientists that Nigeria has all it take to ensure food bio-safety, the HOMEF director said there is no place in the world where scientists can affirm 100 per cent that GMO foods are safe for human consumption as scientists are humans and are prone to mistake, although the best they can do is to be strict as possible.
He, however, stressed that GMO producers must be held accountable to what is being produced, saying:
“It’s important that those producing GMOs accept liability if in future something is traced to their foods.
If the scientists are so sure that what they are producing is safe, they should be able to say they will take responsibility if two to five years down the line what they are producing is not safe.”